Lake Zuerich and the Alpine panorama

View of the Fraumuenster Church and the Church of St. Peter, taking in Lake Zuerich and the Alpine panorama. Zürich has 16 daily direct flights from the US. © Zürich Tourism / Martin Rütschi

During a year when most people still weren’t sure what to expect from business travel, Switzerland just announced that it remained popular in 2010 with American travelers. Overnight rates spent in Swiss hotels showed a growth of 8.9% and an increase in arrivals by 11.5%, according to Switzerland Tourism.

“Switzerland is definitely on the rise,” says Alex Herrmann, director of Switzerland Tourism Americas. “We kept our fingers crossed for the positive development to continue through to the end of the year, and we are very pleased to see it has carried through. The U.S. again is the third most important foreign market for Switzerland, with more than 1.5 million overnights in Swiss hotels.”

Hermann attributes some of the growth to a rebound in business travel, as well as the improving economy and pent-up demand for travel, among other factors. The upward trend started in the fourth quarter of 2009 and accelerated in the spring and summer of 2010. Zürich, Geneva, and the Lake Geneva Region with Montreux and Lausanne are the most popular for business travelers and meetings.

Some key elements that help to differentiate Switzerland for business travel and meetings include:

  • Diverse range of European languages, cultures and landscapes.
  • Corporate social responsibility programs, safety and strike fee image.
  • Lower VAT rate in comparison to many other EU countries.
  • Easy access for direct flights from many U.S. and Canadian airports.

In 2010, Swiss hotels received a total 36.2 million overnight guests, and the number of international visitors increased by 1.4%. The U.S. and Asia serve as Switzerland’s largest markets for tourism.